Hosting Vanilla is costing a lot of money for no reason. I'd really like to stop paying. It seems like there is at least one promising alternative in the works that is Flarum.http://flarum.org/
It's still beta, but I got it to run. You can try out the demo and see how it is. Once it's not beta, I imagine it will serve our purposes nicely. If anyone knows of any others, let me know.
The problem is migrating all the stuff from this forum. I don't think it will be possible. Even if it is possible, it will be too difficult to be worth the trouble. I think the plan will have to be that I will get a database backup from Vanilla. Then I will run a server with the open source Vanilla 2 and put the forum in read-only mode. Then start a new forum with freshness.
Also, it seems that due to the popularity of Slack, there are a lot of web-based chat frameworks available. We still have our IRC channel, and yes there are people there. But obviously people aren't going to use that so much. Is there a reason to have a chat if we already have a forum? Here are some possible chats that won't cost us any money:http://www.mattermost.org/
- Free, open source, self hosted, seems nice, lacking features.https://rocket.chat/
- Free, open source, self hosted, feature rich, even has apps, bleeding edge fancy tech I don't fully trust.https://discordapp.com/
- Free, not self-hosted, has all sorts of bonus features for gaming.
Would people use one of these AND the forum if I had both setup?
Like it looks almost exactly the same.
Also Flarum seems fine. Honestly I think Vanilla Forums are kinda garbage. I'd be down for basically any alternative.
Definitely okay with switching over to Flarum as well. Vanilla 2 is nice, but definitely has its limitations as well and they probably aren't worth paying out the butt for. As long as there's an archive of this forum available, I think it's all good.
If you end up doing this let me know if you want any help moving everything from here to there, I've got a good handle on the Vanilla API at this point, I am also way less busy than you.
Yeah, let's drop this shit.
Discord is pretty cool, but I don't know much else about it. I'll have to look at it more.
A data migration in itself isn't actually that hard. Forums tend to have similar database structures.
The problem is that to migrate we need to keep all the exact same URL patterns. Every single URL that works today for this forum needs to keep working for the sake of Google and all the places that link to the forum.
So for example:
Has to link to this thread, forever.
Also, there are the URL patterns from the old Vanilla 1 forum which still work today.
Making all these old URLs continue to work, or at least redirect to the correct place, in a new non-Vanilla forum platform is not entirely impossible, it's just incredibly annoying and difficult.
Also, keeping the old forum in archive mode makes it easier to maintain other functionality. Things like people being able to login and see their private messages in the archive. It's tricky to migrate that sort of thing.
How important is it that Google's links will be broken? They will only be broken until Google crawls the entire forum again.
How important are links from elsewhere? I'm sure the links from the podcast show notes would be easy to fix in place. Who else has linked to the forum enough for it to matter that their few links won't work now?
You might not care, but making a URL no longer work is an Internet felony.